Friday, April 25

For Mom

I came across this pattern which I thought looked pretty cool. It's a combination of a cardigan and wrap and I thought it looked nice and cozy. I also thought it would make a nice gift so I decided to make it for Mother's Day. I just finished it this past weekend; what do you think?

I still need to finish weaving in stray yarn ends and do a little blocking for shape. I don't think it will need much, but I'm thinking about using a little steam on the front panels to bring out the stitch detail a little more. I'm really pleased with it. I love the way it drapes and I think it will be cozy without being too heavy. And hopefully there will be a little time for her to enjoy it before the weather gets too warm

Monday, April 21

And Now A Word From Their Sponsors

Overall I don't mind commercials that much. I could wish there were fewer of them and more of the few programs I want to watch; but for the most part I'm not bothered by ads. In fact, sometimes I find the commercials more entertaining than the scheduled broadcast. One of my still favorites was for the HP photo printer. You know the one I mean? This guy shuffles and manipulates photos like a magician with a deck of cards. It was a very clever use of special effects and, I thought, visually entertaining. Even though I knew it was all done with computers, my eye couldn't resist trying to discover the 'trick.' It evoked in me the same sense of wonder I felt watching David Copperfield perform locally several years ago.

But now and then there is a commercial that I find especially dumb or even offensive. There was one that played for years in my area, and maybe it's a regional thing, for a bathroom remodeling company. This woman walks into her bathroom and throws back the shower curtain only to discover that the tub and tiles are filthy with mold and mildew and who knows what else. So then the woman has this company completely refit a new bathroom for her and extolls the speed and efficiency with which it was done. But I have to wonder how she let her bathroom get that bad to begin with. I mean clearly she hadn't bothered to clean it, or even use it, or it wouldn't have come as such a surprise to her. And if she hadn't bothered to clean it in the first place, would she bother with the new bathroom? Or was she planning to get it refitted every six months? Okay, I know it was just a commerical, but it was a dumb commercial and did not in the least make me want to rush to the phone and order a new bathtub.

The most recent addition to my list of all time idiot ads is a new one for Brand X paper plates. It starts out all warm and fuzzy with this woman saying how she has decided that spending time with her kids is more important than spending time washing dishes. This commercial bothers me on several levels. First, because it implies that if you wash dishes instead of using paper plates that you must be an uncaring parent who isn't interested in spending more time with your kids. Second, it completely ignores the fact that (a) there would still be dishes to do if only in cooking the food, and (b) washing up a few plates takes only a minute. Apparently she doesn't begrudge the time it takes to scour pots and pans. Another woman appears in the commercial marveling that Brand X plates are even good enough for her grandmother's recipe. Which makes me think that her grandmother's recipe must not be very good. And then there's the fact that if these women weren't spending so much on paper plates they could probably afford automatic dishwashers.

Just how dumb I found this commercial is clear; all I can think of when watching it is how much it offends me. I couldn't even tell you what brand it's supposed to be advertising. Which is pretty bad marketing if you ask me. Or even if you don't.

Thursday, April 10

Still turning pages

In case you missed my earlier comment, Jan Karon's latest addition to the Father Tim series Home to Holly Springs was fabulous. I love getting pulled into her world, or Father Tim's world, I suppose. Warm and fuzzy feelings I've got for that series. These books are written for adults, but there's an almost child-friendly feeling to them. Gentle, I think is a good description. I'm a terrible cynic, myself; but sometimes escaping into that more simple world works better than any prescription drug for soothing whatever ails me.

Also recently reread Terry Pratchett's Making Money which I also have listened to the audio twice. Moist Von Lipwig is my all time favorite Pratchett character, second only to Lord Vetinari. Neither one is the most sterling example of humanity. Moist is a thief and scam artist, Vetinari is a tyrant, literally. But sometimes the best person for the job isn't the guy with the cleanest motive. Pratchett's books are great fun. He might set them in a fantasy world, but it only serves to underscore the familiar aburdities of our own culture.

Just finished Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart. If you like Bill Bryson, you might want to give this one a try. With much love and humor, Stewarts tells how he and his wife came to live on a small farm in rural Spain, the people they came to know and the life they obviously fell in love with. Charming and quixotic would be a good description. It reminded me a lot of James Herriot's stories, actually.